Philippine Storm Spares Capital But Strands Many

July 2, 2013

A tropical storm shifted and spared the Philippine capital Sunday but stranded thousands of commuters, toppled trees and knocked out power in outlying provinces.

Forecasters had predicted that Tropical Storm Rumbia would hit the densely populated Manila metropolis early Sunday, sparking emergency preparations. Instead it veered away and struck Batangas province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Manila, then blew away toward the South China Sea, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the storm, which packed sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of 80 kph (50 mph).

Strong winds and rain pounded on roofs and swayed trees before dawn in the capital of more than 12 million people, then the sun emerged.

The government’s disaster response agency said 1,600 villagers fled their homes in Albay province, southeast of Manila, amid heavy rains, while more than 10,000 commuters were stranded as ferry and cargo boats suspended trips. Several provinces reported power outages and minor landslides.

Rumbia is the seventh storm or typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 21 strike the country in a year.

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